The impact of sharing brand messages: How message, sender and receiver characteristics influence brand attitudes and information diffusion on Social Networking Sites


Social Networking Sites (SNSs) not only enable users to read or create content about brands, but also to easily pass along this content using information diffusion mechanisms such as retweeting or sharing. While these capabilities can be optimal for viral marketing, little is known, however, about how reading brand messages passed along by SNS contacts influences online brand communication outcomes. Results of a survey with active SNS users indicate that (1) message evaluation, (2) the relationship with the sender, and (3) the receiver’s opinion leadership and opinion-seeking levels influence not only the receiver’s intention to pass along the message further, but also his or her attitude towards the brand. The implications of these findings are discussed, including how these capabilities brought on by SNSs change the brand-consumer relationship online.